According to Smith, some of the biggest frustrations for Destiny players come when they’re too under-leveled to play with their friends. To circumvent this, all loot — including what players already have in their inventories — will jump to the current cap of 750 with Shadowkeep’s release. In the free-to-play New Light, players will all start at 750 Power.
Players will continue to accumulate Power and grow during Shadowkeep’s life. The quest to 950 Power comes with some quality-of-life updates, as well as a more difficult climb.
As players start leveling up, they’ll no longer earn random Prime Engrams — significant, random boosts of Power. Instead, they’ll accumulate charges for the Prime Engrams the more they play. Once they hit 900, the Primes will start dropping based on the charges players have.
Later in the leveling experience, players won’t have to try as hard to replace a piece that’s lagging behind. When players pick up a random Legendary piece of gear off the ground, it has a chance to be at the player’s current Power level.
Smith gave a clear example of how this could work, saying: “A player has an overall Power level of 912. Gloves are their lowest slot at 906. A player might open a Legendary engram and receive 912 gloves (an increase of 6 Power).”
Both of those changes should reduce the friction players feel when trying to climb to higher Power levels.
Bungie is also pruning the number of activities that offer up powerful drops. Smith wasn’t explicit about what will remain powerful and what will shift, but he stated that players should expect a similar amount of powerful sources as they had access to in Forsaken.
There is also a new bonus Power system, where players can increase their account-wide Power each season. Smith ties this to the new Artifact system. As players play Destiny 2, they’ll earn experience for their Artifact and level it up. Each level up comes with some new mods and a bonus Power level. Smith wasn’t clear on how exactly this will work, but the goal is to give players who don’t want to play endgame activities (like raids) ways to increase their Power while playing solo.
Destiny 2: Shadowkeep will also introduce the ability to go beyond 950 Power. Pinnacle activities — what Smith refers to as the raid, Iron Banner, and a new “Redacted” mode — can drop items above 950 Power. These are the only sources for players to grow past those points.
Smith ended his post by saying that Power is still imperfect in Destiny 2, and that the team is actively looking into how it may change in the future. The goal for Shadowkeep is to turn the pursuit of Power into a several-week-long journey for the game’s most dedicated players, but still have ways for casual fans to catch up.
Bungie will release Destiny 2: Shadowkeep and New Light on Oct. 1.